Nutrition is made to look like it’s very complicated by food industries. That’s because this helps them sell their products to their consumers. But eating the right food isn’t rocket science! If you’re confused about nutrition, here are 3 simple tips!
By now, you probably know my story. Throughout my life, I was struggling to lose weight. For years, I’d been following various diets. I was also eating different types of foods at different stages. My relationship with food was really bizarre. I just ate to lose weight; consequently, I categorised food into “good food” and “bad food.”
Alhamdulillah, luckily things changed when I started studying nutrition. Instead of compartmentalising food, I started enjoying them as part of a healthy lifestyle. Instead of eating to lose weight, like I did in the past, I now eat to nourish my body. In short, I’ve completely changed my relationship with food.
For many people, nutrition is synonymous with dieting. And that’s definitely a problem. Our perception of nutrition is also shaped by the content we read online and by the different opinions nutritionists, inevitably, have.
So, here are 3 simple tips for you to hold on.
#1. Eat Whole Foods
What do I mean by whole foods? Whole foods are real and unprocessed. They don’t have any fancy packaging. They also don’t have health claims on the cover or any ingredient list. Do you see any ingredient list or health claims when you buy vegetables, fruits, grains or meat?
Whole foods are foods that are closest to their natural state. They’ve only minimally refined to make them more consumable.
The fewer steps a product has to take from farm to fork, the more of the “good stuff” it contains. Whole foods are full of all the “good-for-you” substances. And these substances are critical for you to function optimally.
So, next time when you go shopping, buy foods that are free from fancy packaging and ones that don’t contain a long ingredient list. The simple rule is, if your grandma can identify the food you eat without checking the ingredient list, then you’re most likely eating whole foods.
Want to know the “magical powers” of whole foods? Check this out!
#2. Eat Seasonal Produce
Seasonal vegetables, in particular, are a super gift from Allah subuhanawuta’la. These type of produce help protect us against many diseases that tend to spread during particular seasons. They also are helpful to our body in getting a heavenly mix of nutrients and plant chemicals that we need during the different seasons. Like in the winter, you need much more nutrients so that your immune system will be strong and ready to fight if needs be.
In the winter, we’re also more likely to come down with the flu, so vitamins like A and C helps to strengthen our immune systems. And most vegetables that blossom in winter are full of such vital vitamins. For example, Brussel sprouts don’t have a good rep, but it being a winter vegetable means that it has twice as much vitamin C as an orange. Or a serving of kale gives you double the recommended amount of vitamins A and C.
Whenever you can, snap up more seasonal vegetables than not. And remember, that Allah subuhanawuta’la knows exactly what is best for us and that is why He has given us many things that we need, in the right place and definitely at the right time. There’s no doubt about it!
So, no matter where you live, buy seasonal produce. HINT: Farmer’s markets are a great place for this!
#3. Eat Local Produce
Deep down many of us know that many of the ‘fresh’ vegetables we get from the supermarket are really not that ‘fresh’. Most of the fruits and vegetables are picked and transported before they are even ripe. Unfortunately, this does a grave injustice to those beautiful fruits and vegetables as this ‘hasty-harvest’ means that they have had less time to cultivate—they haven’t reached the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. They, therefore, have fewer nutrients than they’re supposed to. And of course, their growth has essentially been inhibited.
On top of this, they lose more nutrients during their transportation from their farm to your plate, as they are exposed to light, heat, and prolonged transportation time. So, that exotic fruit that comes from 3,000 miles away isn’t really the right food for you.
Again, there is a reason why Allah subuhanawuta’la has made available certain produce in certain areas. Because He subuhanawuta’la knows best what’s best for us. Hence, something that is super healthy in a cold climate isn’t necessarily healthy in a tropical country.
Strive to get the best local produce. They are cheaper, better and have more nutrients. HINT: Farmer’s markets are again a great place for this!
What You Can Do
- Strive to get whole foods whenever possible. Choose foods that have few and recognisable ingredients.
- Visit farmer’s market to get the seasonal and locally produced food.